For the last six years, in addition to professional news writing, journal copyediting, adjunct English composition teaching, and grandmothering, I have been writing about my community: the Incorporated Village of Hempstead, New York.
In 2018, I published Hempstead Village, an Images of America book produced by Arcadia Publishing, and also "The Presidents and Mayors of Hempstead," a historical display about the village since its 1853 incorporation, that I wrote for the village's 375th anniversary.
I have written weekly articles, both historical and contemporary, for our local paper, the Hempstead Beacon, since 2018.
My articles continue, and I am working on a different chronicle of Hempstead since incorporation. I plan to turn my research into Hempstead: The Musical.
From May 2021 to August 2022, as editor of the Freeport edition of the Long Island Herald, I wrote 185 articles about the Incorporated Village of Freeport, which is located several miles southeast of Hempstead. The two villages have diverse populations in common.
I have also published a biography of George Balanchine, founder of the New York City Ballet, entitled Balanchine: Russian American Ballet Master Emeritus (2012, Branden Books).
The above photo shows part of the display that I wrote for Hempstead's 375th anniversary. Hempstead's leaders were called presidents from incorporation in 1853 until 1927, after which they were called mayors.
To write about Hempstead is to articulate the good and bad of American history: settlement by Europeans on land populated by Native American communities, development that included the evils of slavery and the near-elimination of the native groups, the growth of wealth as Long Island's suburbs grew, and the struggles caused by racial discrimination.
In writing about my friends and neighbors here, I hope to add my voice to those who seek unity among all the groups and heritages of America.
The photo in this section is from November 2022. It shows Daniel Baxt, Bruce William Miller, and me in the extensive graveyard surrounding St. George's church. Mr. Baxt, a science teacher at Baldwin High School, had brought one of his classes to St. George's for a tour of the graveyard and a study of weathering on the aged grave monuments. Mr. Miller is a descendant of the Clowes, a founding Hempstead family; he is restoring several Clowes grave monuments and was there on the day Mr. Baxt and his class came. I provided the historical information and guided the tour.
As I continue writing and publishing, I welcome comments to my blog. All comments will be reviewed by me for appropriateness before I post them.
The dramatic photo with flags and guns shows a Revolutionary War reenactment at St. George's in June 2022. The soldiers are members of two historical reenactment regiments: the 3rd New York of the Continental Line, and the 23rd Regiment of Foot Royal Welch Fusilliers.